Predicted XI

Europa league team news: How Arsenal could line up against Villarreal

Arsenal take on Unai Emery's Villarreal in the Europa League semi-final with Mikel Arteta's job under scrutiny.

 
1:55pm on Wednesday 5th May 2021
By
James Shearman

Arsenal host Villarreal in the Europa League semi-final second leg in the biggest game of either teams' season.

However, the fate of the game could have a longer-term impact on the Gunners as manager Mikel Arteta would struggle to survive a defeat to predecessor Unai Emery.

Arsenal's Premier League season is over, meaning Europa League silverware is the team's only shot at European football next season - a must for a club of their stature.

The Spaniard will opt for Bernd Leno in goal, behind a central defence that won't include the injured David Luiz.

Despite starting Gabriel against Newcastle, Pablo Mari and Rob Holding have been a regular pairing so should return to the side.

Kieran Tierney is unlikely to be ready for Thursday night, meaning Granit Xhaka will continue his run at left-back in the Scotsman's absence.

Calum Chambers has impressed at right-back lately, keeping out both Hector Bellerin and Cedric Soares.

Thomas Partey has had a troubled first season in London due to injuries, but plays whenever he's fit.

Dani Ceballos' red card in the first leg rules him out, paving the way for Sunday's goalscorer Mohamed Elneny to start.

Bukayo Saka and Nicolas Pepe have been key players under Arteta in the wing positions, instrumental in Arsenal's quarter-final thrashing of Slavia Prague.

Martin Odegaard edges out Emile Smith-Rowe after his so far impressive loan spell at the club.

Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang will lead the line after recovering from illness, with Alexandre Lacazette on the sidelines.

Arsenal predicted XI versus Villarreal

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